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Thank you @kampgarden and everyone who visited In My Room! Thanks Taike @bassoradio @punto_seta @emmetex_labels @sukkamestarit @kyrodistillery for the support! Thank you dream team @osmaharvilahti @lauravartiainen @ellenraajala @jannepunkari @insklll @marianjuni @child0fafrica for the photos, thanks @sinirinnekanto for the text and installation guru @manyau_helsinki Thanks @sans1bar and @oltermann for the music ❤️ slso thank you @clubkaiku for having me when I arrived!
What does your bedroom say about you? Do your retro posters of Al Pacino and your never-worn-outside-the-house statement leather pants lying on the floor speak to your internal identity? Maria Korkeila thinks so. Maria is a multidisciplinary creative who designed a capsule collection project entitled, “In My Room”, presented on video with co-collaborator and video director Joaquim Bayle. Read their interview to learn about how Maria and Joaquim came together to make art.
Can you explain the project “In My Room”? Is it a brand, a capsule collection or something else all together?
Maria: “In My Room” was first presented in a solo exhibition in Kämp Garden, Helsinki, (Feb 2019). Initially influenced by photographer Adrienne Salinger’s series of teenagers in their bedrooms, I wanted to explore the softness and subtleties of the relationship between identity and space. According to Salinger, ‘Our bedrooms tell stories about us. They become the repository for memories, desire and self-image’. In other words, our bedrooms are the physical spaces where our identities manifest themselves in their past, present and aspirational forms. With “In My Room” I wanted to create a world where, stripped of pretenses and social ‘armour’, softness and sincerity are embraced: trench coats fall into soft silken shapes, pillows are transformed into bags and prints echo childhood memories of pajama parties and animations.
“In My Room”, much like my practice in general, operates in the ‘in between’, ranging from a capsule collection of garments and special elements to photos and video. I’m currently working within and in between multiple practices and I feel like every project is as much an exploration into what I do or could potentially do, as it is a research into specific themes, ideas and feelings. I currently work on a project basis, so it remains to be seen if and when “In My Room” as such will be continued.
Maria, You mentioned you are a designer, photographer and DJ; How do you define yourself as an artist?... Or do you define yourself at all?
Maria: I totally get the need for clear-cut definitions and easily comprehendible and marketable labels in an age where people are flooded with information and Coeval Magazine it’s already hard to stand out as it is. But I’m somehow always trying to evade being put in a box. I’m a fashion and textile designer by training, but I prefer to view my practice and the direction where I’m taking it in a more open way. I suppose I have the classic millennial syndrome of wanting to do it all... For me it’s more about using whatever mediums best express what it is that I’m trying to say and often it’s a combination of things. Music fundamentally influences all my aesthetic work and in producing or mixing music I often collaborate with designers and artists, so it all kind of blends. Working with all these different things also means I have a tendency to try to do it all myself, which has changed since I started collaborating with Joaquim. We have very similar taste and I trust him 100%, it feels very liberating!
Joaquim, Can you describe your craft and how you became involve with Maria for this project?
Joaquim: Basically, I started filmmaking trough my skateboarding background before I moved on to various other fields. At the moment I am directing short formats, which include commercials, branded content and music videos.
Maria and I met at a house party in Paris. Our friendship and collaboration started almost a year ago, when we worked on our first clip together for her collaboration collection with Finnish brand R-collection. Our latest collaboration started when I visited Maria one evening and saw the first samples she had made for "In My Room". I instantly thought about doing something new together. Regarding the process, Maria was really trusting. She is so pure in her approach which made it fun for me and my team to translate her theme and vision into a video format. I always follow closely what Maria is producing both with her designs and DJ sets.
Maria, Where did you find or make your fabrics for this collection?
Maria: I work a lot with textiles and surface design, either making materials from scratch or modifying them. With this project, I designed the prints and worked with factories to produce the fabrics... prints and woven jacquard as well as knits. The bleached florals and stripes I hand-painted at home. I love working by hand and would ideally love to be able to develop things myself by hand, which is what I did in school.
I noticed you featured a pretty diverse cast of models in your video and look- book. What is your opinion on the current state of diverse representation in the fashion industry?
Joaquim: Regarding the video, we were looking for individuals who weren’t actual models. I think this is also something that Maria liked to include in her previous works. My directing on the cast was pretty free. I wanted to set up a frame and a Coeval Magazine context and let the cast elevate the vibe of the clip. With that in mind, Maria started casting people in her network and we ended up with Zita, Laure and Anthony.
Maria: I think we still have ways to go, in all creative industries, in terms of diversity. I find it very important not to uphold archaic notions of gender, sexuality or race, to have diverse representation. I feel like things are going in a good direction in the industry in terms of casting models, in the sense that racial diversity, non-binary gender and different body-types are being pushed forward. The conversation tends to circulate mostly around casting diversity and for the most part, completely ignores the lack of diversity and equality in the industry at large, particularly in circles with economic power. Still, there is a lot to say for the importance of model choices, as representation does have a huge impact on what is perceived as normal.
Will “In My Room” be available for purchase? If so, where?
Maria: In My Room is available on a made-to-order basis, directly through me. The socks, made in collaboration with Finnish company Sukkamestarit will soon be available directly from my website and theirs as well. I’ll also be showing the collection at the Festival d’Hyères in South of France where selected items will be available.
What are your individual hopes and plans for your future career endeavors?
Joaquim: I hope I can continue collaborating on these kinds of projects in the future, where the creative direction is shared. I would like to continue collaborating with Maria on our personal stuff and on branded content. I’ve also been thinking of a way to combine storytelling and live performance in a format of VJing. Short narrative clips could be edited live and sync’d with music! At the moment I’m working on a new video production collective with some close friends here in Paris. Hopefully it will be up and running soon! Also, developing concepts and producing content for Öctagon, a streetwear brand I created with two partners, always keeps me busy. Maria: I feel like I’m on an on-going journey, exploring different cross-disciplinary approaches and projects and it feels very exciting. My current plan is to stick to it and see what happens. It’s like something thrilling is taking shape and I can feel it but can’t quite fully see it yet. Mumbo jumbo aside, I’m currently working on different projects in the scope of fashion, music and photography, which will be coming out very soon.
courtesy MARIA KORKEILA
interview ANNA McCORRISTON
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